A memorandum of understanding (MOU) signed last week between the Israeli Venture Capital firm OurCrowd and the Emirati family firm, Al Naboodah Investments, will see some 100 million dollars of Emirati money going into tech investments in Israel.

As the first major deal between Israeli and Emirate investment firms since normalization accords were signed between the two countries Sept. 16, it is bringing hopes that this will lead to billions of more dollars in tech investments in the region.

Interest in the Arab world for more trade connections with Israel has grown following the normalization of relations between Israel and the UAE and Bahrain, said Dr. Sabah al-Binali, recently appointed head of Gulf region operations for OurCrowd, noting that the leading English-language Saudi Arabia newspaper Arab News recently ran a “very positive” article about the OurCrowd expansion and other deals done between the UAE and Israel.

“There is a lot of interest from the merchant families and entrepreneurs and start ups to open that up,” said Dr. Sabah al-Binali. “I think the appetite is there, the decision of course goes to the leadership of those countries.”

Dr. al-Binali said the hundred million dollars to be invested according to the MOU will be split across technical areas, with some going directly to the OurCrowd platform which includes cyber security, med tech, agri tech and fin tech.

“Some of it will be earmarked for expanding the current portfolio of OurCrowd companies that see opportunities in the UAE to have them operational on the ground—not just sales but operational on the ground—as well as looking at opportunities to fund start ups and entrepreneurs here in the UAE and Bahrain, and hopefully other countries as they normalize,” Dr. al-Binali added.

Dr. al-Binali emphasized that Emirate investments in Israeli tech companies is only one facet of the Israeli-Emirate business dynamics, noting the strong infrastructure which already exists in the UAE.

“You have to remember that the UAE is not opening up to the world just now, it has been open up from the beginning. They have been hosting lots of business and trade with many countries around the world,” he said.

The normalization deal just extends that now to Israel, he said, and investments will be moving both ways. As an example, he said, OurCrowd and Emirates Angels Investors Association will be co-hosting a webinar which will highlight investment opportunities for Israeli investors to fund startups in the UAE.

Referring to the opportunities created by the agreement, Dr. al-Binali said:  “I see it as having multiple facets that look at all of these.”